Do Gas Fireplaces Cost You Energy Efficiency?
The Association of Realtors reports that having a fireplace in your home can make a big difference in the perceived value. A fireplace is often one of the top three amenities requested when a buyer starts hunting for a new home.
But it’s not just any fireplace; increasingly people want gas fireplaces for the convenience as well as the warmth. How efficient are gas fireplaces? Are they a good source of heat or is your furnace still the best way to go?
Gas fireplaces come in three types.
- Inserts allow retrofitting a wood burning firebox with something more convenient
- Built-ins allow a fireplace to be installed where there isn’t one now
- Log sets that are burners that sit in existing open fireplaces
Wood burning fireplaces have always provided great ambiance, but the mess and maintenance are often overwhelming for today’s homeowners. With gas, you don’t have to split or haul logs, there are no ashes to deal with, no smoky smells, no chimneys to clean.
With a gas fireplace, a wall thermostat can control the flame size, and therefore adjust heat output at the flip of a switch. The fixed glass panels covering the direct vent fireboxes ensure that the furnace heated air in the rest of the house doesn’t escape up the flue. And because of efficiencies, you can get as much as 99 percent of the fuel’s energy back as heat.
In most cases, gas fireplaces direct heat only to the room they are located in. If a gas fireplace is near the thermostat that controls the heat levels to the rest of the home, furnace operation will be reduced. But that leaves other rooms cooler in the process.
Furnace or gas fireplace for efficiency? It depends.
It depends on your goals. Will you be spending time in one room, or are people in several different rooms?
It depends on your plans. Looking to create ambiance in one room? A gas fireplace can set any mood you desire.
While a gas fireplace will never heat your entire home efficiently, it can be a welcome addition to certain rooms in your home, providing the perfect addition to the décor. And when it comes time to sell, it can add value there too.